Comelec denies Otso Diretso’s request for debate
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has denied the request for a debate of opposition senatorial slate Otso Diretso against the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) candidates, a poll official announced Friday.
Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said the Comelec’s en banc rejected the Otso Diretso’s request due to logistical issues and time restraints.
He added that approving the request “would be tantamount to giving preferential treatment to some senatorial candidates or slates.”
“The en banc has deliberated on the request and the request will be denied for three reasons,” Jimenez told reporters in a Viber message.
He cited the reasons as: “1), granting Otso Diretso’s request would be tantamount to giving preferentia treatment to some senatorial candidates or slates; 2), it would be practically impossible, logistically, to conduct meaningful debates involving all 62 candidates, without risking allegations of preferential treatment; and 3) there are considerable time constraints, with only about 2 months remaining.”
The Otso Diretso senatorial candidates formally submitted a letter before the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila, last Feb. 28, to ask the poll body to facilitate a public debate between them and the 13 senatorial candidates of the HNP.
The opposition cited Comelec’s “independence and impartiality” to facilitate the debate, which they believe “would benefit the voting public, who has all the right to know the platforms and positions on various issues” of Otso Diretso and HNP. /jpv